Americans Demand Greater Efforts in Plastic Recycling

Hand throwing a plastic empty water bottle out of a moving car window

(Credit: Unsplash+)

by | Mar 28, 2024

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In a new survey from CleanHub, an innovator in plastic pollution prevention, the current sentiment among U.S. citizens regarding plastic usage and recycling efforts in 2024 reveals a growing concern and call for action among Americans for both governmental bodies and corporate brands to intensify their efforts against plastic pollution.

National Call for Recycling Reforms

The survey’s findings, which engaged 965 Americans, reveal a significant demand for enhanced recycling measures and sustainable packaging solutions. Key insights from the survey include:

  • 79% of respondents believe brands should do more to combat plastic pollution.
  • Seventy-seven percent advocate for the U.S. government to facilitate better access to recycling services.
  • At 87%, most practice recycling at home, acknowledging its benefits.
  • Nearly half of those surveyed (49%) are willing to invest more in sustainably packaged goods, while a portion (39%) are hesitant due to cost concerns.
  • Concerns about microplastics resonate with 84% of participants.

This pressing call for improvement comes against a mere 5% recycling rate for U.S. plastics, placing America’s recycling efficacy among the lowest in the developed world.

Workplace Recycling and Single-Use Plastics

The disparity between home and workplace recycling habits is notable, with only 44% reporting the availability of recycling facilities at work. Additionally, a third of Americans find it challenging to avoid single-use plastics, reflecting a broader issue with consumer goods packaging.

Advocacy for Government and Brand Initiatives

The survey highlights a robust demand for governmental intervention, with 77% of respondents calling for more comprehensive recycling policies. This desire also extends to the corporate sector, where a significant majority (78%) expect brands to actively engage in reducing plastic waste, especially in light of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Economic Factors Influencing Sustainable Practices

Economic considerations emerge as a significant factor, with varying perceptions of the affordability of sustainable choices across different age groups. The survey illustrates a clear divide, with older respondents viewing financial constraints as a barrier to sustainable purchases, while younger demographics point to the cost of living as a deterrent.

Sector-Specific Plastic Waste

When dissecting the sources of plastic waste, the food and beverage industry is identified as the primary contributor, followed by other sectors, including beauty, home care, and apparel. These findings underscore the need for industry-wide shifts towards more sustainable practices.

CleanHub’s Commitment and Call to Action

CleanHub’s Vice President of Marketing, Nikki Stones, emphasizes the disparity between low U.S. recycling rates and the proactive attitude of the American public towards recycling. She advocates for a dual approach where the government and businesses play crucial roles in providing accessible recycling facilities and educational resources and fostering sustainable business practices without passing costs onto consumers.

Survey Methodology and CleanHub’s Mission

Conducted in February 2024, CleanHub’s survey aimed to gather nuanced insights into the recycling habits and attitudes towards plastics from a wide but balanced demographic representation and sheds light on the pressing need for systemic changes in waste management and plastic use.

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